How Therapists Manage Their Own Anxiety

We’re in this together, which is why therapists practice self-care too.

Posted Oct 25, 2020

In a series of interviews with dynamic clinicians and colleagues of color around the country, such as Dr. Zoe Shaw in California, Monica L. Coleman in Mississippi and Dr. Karriem Salaam in New Jersey, I asked how these professionals, who have dedicated their careers to helping others heal, maintain their own peace of mind in the midst of so much tumult in the world these days. In this final part of the series, you’ll hear from New York-based psychotherapist Chavel Guzman, who candidly shares how she manages her own anxiety and makes room for her feelings in order to support her clients. It is my hope that this series will give you some inspiration for ways you can make sure that you take care of yourself as you continue to support your clients. We’re all in this together.

Chavel Guzman, used with permission
Chavel Guzman, psychotherapist, uses self-care to manage her anxiety.
Source: Chavel Guzman, used with permission

Chavel Guzman, LMHC

Psychotherapist, The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling, New York, NY 


What have you found to be most challenging about being a clinician in this era?

The most challenging for me has been having to be there for my clients during these difficult times when I am also struggling with my own anxiety, grief and frustration in relation to our current health and racial crises. I also struggle to create space to process my own issues because I am constantly focusing on my clients and their needs, especially now. 

What does self-care mean to you? Self-care means taking space to allow yourself to heal your mind, body, soul and to recharge. I see this as a tool to protect my emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual health. 

What self-care practice(s) have you found most beneficial in these times? The practices that I found most beneficial are cooking, doing my own nails, meditating, listening to music, taking walks in nature, exercising, Zumba, 30 minutes of silence while sitting in my comfortable chair, drinking my favorite tea, listening to spiritual or gospel music and talking to my partner.

In what way(s) does it help? These self-care activities help distract me and calm my anxious thoughts. I use these activities when I am stressed and overthinking, or when I find myself feeling burning out. 

When you can't do what's most beneficial, what's your Plan B? My plan B is to pray whenever possible. I also take time to identify my strengths and I try to find ways to use these strengths to address the situation at hand. 

Why is it important to have self-care practices? Self-care practices are important because they help us protect ourselves and our health. Self-care is important for self-regulation and self-preservation. I believe it helps us maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves and with our environment.